Burlington is packed with places that can enrich the education of Champlain College students of all majors. From on-campus resources to off-campus hangout spots, many of the Queen City’s greatest offerings seem to be custom-made for students.

Of course, students of every major have their favorite places. Those in the Professional Writing program can choose from an exciting array of options when it comes to enhancing their classroom experiences. Here are just six of the best places for Professional Writing majors in Burlington: 

Champlain College Center for Publishing

The main mission of Champlain College’s Center for Publishing is to equip students of all majors with industry knowledge and the skills necessary to succeed in the world of publishing. Perfect for Professional Writing students, the program produces real-world projects such as chapbooks, literary magazines, and e-books right on campus, allowing teams to collaborate and learn about editing, marketing, social media management, and more. 

Many Professional Writing students at Champlain take advantage of the Center for Publishing, including Brian Sheridan ’20. Besides being a Professional Writing major, Brian also earned a degree in Secondary Education. He finds his work on Willard and Maple, a literary magazine published by the Champlain College Center for Publishing, improves his experience with both majors. “Through my work with Willard and Maple, I’ve been able to practice the way I give other writers feedback and have refined my own editing process. I feel more confident about guiding the way my future students will write as a result,” he says.

Students talked up books and poetry and performed readings at a Center for Publishing launch party for The Well, a student wellness magazine.

Muddy Waters Coffee Shop

Every writer knows that a good cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate is an essential part of producing your best work. Muddy Waters, just a short walk from campus, is a favorite for local-brewed drinks, fresh snacks, and a peaceful work environment that’s sure to keep you comfortable for hours of writing. 

Professional Writing alumna Grace Safford ’20 says, “Muddy Waters is the perfect place to treat yourself to a literary date. With no Wi-Fi, Muddy Waters encourages you to pull out a notebook and put your pen on the page. Because of its homey, tree-house-like interior, it’s the best place in Burlington to get cozy. Plus, there are hidden notes left by customers stuck in the walls all around the cafe, giving you a little writing inspiration.” 

Muddy Waters, just a short walk down the hill from campus, is one of Burlington’s many welcoming and cozy coffee shops.

Robert E. & Holly D. Miller Information Commons 

Full of useful resources for all majors, the Miller Information Commons is a great place to research, meet for a group project, or even just relax and read a book. Champlain College’s extensive digital collections supplement three floors of print resources, making it easy to find whatever you’re looking for. Come for the books, but stay for the third-floor views!

Students take a break from their Publishing in the 21st Century class to explore the children’s section of Champlain’s library, the Miller Information Commons, a favorite spot for both Education and Professional Writing students.

Whitney Bain ’20 // Professional Writing, helps run the Hibernation Club in the Miller Information Commons’ Vista Room for just this reason. The view “makes the atmosphere very cozy and relaxing” for club members while they read and enjoy some quiet time, Bain explains.

Students collaborate and enjoy spectacular views from the third-floor Vista Room of the Miller Information Commons.

Phoenix Books

Located just off Church Street, Phoenix Books is the perfect destination for writers and readers who love to shop local. Phoenix offers a wide selection of books, many of which have been penned by Burlington authors who regularly stop in for book launches, readings, and other events throughout the year. 

Last spring, Phoenix Books even gave away free Advance Reader Copies (ARCs). I was lucky enough to grab one of my favorite books, The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis, in ARC form!

Books, books, and more books, is how you might describe the beloved independent bookshop, Phoenix Books. You’ll appreciate the helpful staff and comfortable surroundings as you browse the shelves for your latest read.

The Lit Club at the Light Club Lamp Shop

Hosted every Monday by the Light Club Lamp Shop, the Lamp Shop Lit Club serves as an outlet for the poets of Burlington to share their work. Each week features a selected professional artist or group as well as a smattering of open mic poets, so it’s easy for students to get in on the fun. 

Margot Nelson, ’20 // Professional Writing, who’s had her writing published in TeenVogue, meets with Warren Baker, one of the writing professors at Champlain.

Margot Nelson ’20 // Professional Writing, says, “the Lamp Shop is a cool and unique venue for poetry readings because of the intimate atmosphere. Poets of all backgrounds and experience are welcomed and applauded, and it’s a great way to meet people from the Burlington writing community outside of Champlain.” 

Ian Frisch, ’09 // Professional Writing, a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist and author, often returns to campus to discuss tricks of the trade. His latest book, Magic is Dead, made Amazon’s Top 10 Best Books of the Month and Best Books of the Year (So Far) lists.

Burlington Writers Workshop

Meant to provide writers in the community with free opportunities to develop their craft, the Burlington Writers Workshop is a great resource for Professional Writing students who want more opportunities to learn. The non-profit offers bi-weekly workshops focused on reading like a writer. Plus, there are book-length fiction project discussions that Champlain students can use to improve their work, while interacting with writers of all ages in the Vermont community. 

Anais Mohr ’20 // Professional Writing, says, “Workshopping my writing in a group with such diverse ages and life experiences inspired my work in new and challenging ways. My Burlington Writers Workshop groups grew as familiar as my classmates, and granted me the time and space to grow not only as a writer, but as a member of the tight-knit Vermont writing community. The Workshop also welcomed me into my first editorial position as an Assistant Poetry Editor for their annual literary anthology, with their supportive mentoring. They offer several editing opportunities for local students between the anthology and Mud Season Review.” 

A student poses with a copy of Girl Rising, the award-winning book written by the new Program Director of Champlain’s Professional Writing program, Tanya Lee Stone.

No matter your major, Champlain College’s campus and the city of Burlington have something fun and informative to offer!

Click here to see if Champlain’s Professional Writing major is right for you. While you’ll explore literature and learn to critique writing, Champlain’s unique program is not an English degree. You’ll learn the professional aspects of writing and how to get paid doing what you love.

Alexa O'Kane
Alexa O'Kane
Class of 2021
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